Working responsibly

Resource use

Cairn continues to be mindful of the resources we use in our activities.

These mainly consist of energy, seawater, and solids and liquids in drilling activities. We also use local resources such as food and water for our personnel in-country.

Energy use

For our offshore activities, the majority of our energy sources are hydrocarbon fuels such as marine diesel. Where possible, Cairn gives preference to low sulphur diesel sources, although for our operations in Senegal low sulphur fuel options are not available, nor are they south of Las Palmas. By contrast, the supplier is local and therefore economic benefits accrue locally, and the supplier used in the Dakar terminal operates a high-quality management system with good infrastructure (see Climate change, emissions and discharges).

In mid-2017, due to increased turnover, we are likely to fall within the requirements of the UK Energy Saving Opportunity Regulations. Consequently, a compliance programme will be instituted in early 2017 to address this.


Water management

At Cairn, we appreciate that our business both impacts and depends on water resources close to our operations, while recognising that access to clean water by communities is a key human right and of importance to local communities and the environment. We have had a water resource strategy in place for some years, which covers:

  • monitoring and assessing the need for fresh water abstraction and use, and potential impacts on fresh water resources of our operations;
  • investigating ways to improve our fresh water management processes;
  • identifying, evaluating and implementing improvement measures to reduce impacts on fresh water; and
  • enhancing reporting of our fresh water resources management.

In our present exploration and appraisal activities offshore, our use of fresh water is very limited and some seawater is used in drilling fluid formulation. Given the level of our activities in 2016, there was very limited local impact from those materials abstracted and used in our Senegal drilling activities. Dakar is a major West African port and a local focus of food importation. Cairn and our contractors source food locally, which adds to the local economy without adverse environmental impact.


Chemical management

Our business also requires the use of chemicals and some solids. Chemical formulation for drilling fluids for our exploration campaigns undergoes rigorous selection to ensure well safety and minimisation of impacts on the environment.

We identify and assess the potential risks and impacts of chemicals as part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) we carry out before starting new operations (see Biodiversity). We have a stringent approach to chemical selection and waste management.

Cairn manages chemicals in accordance with the Oslo/Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR). It is an internationally recognised mechanism, developed by 15 governments of the western coasts and catchments of Europe, together with the European Union. In Senegal, we continue to track and support the development of harmonised chemical selection and disposal practices under the Abidjan Convention, which seeks to coordinate chemical and discharge management standards along the west coast of Africa. The convergence towards the OSPAR approach is welcomed by Cairn to implement good practice in the region.

We continued using water-based drilling fluids during exploration and appraisal drilling in Senegal in 2016 but chose a formulation in line with the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) approach. This allowed us to minimise the use and discharge of chemicals classified as candidates for substitution under the OSPAR system, reducing the potential for adverse effects on marine wildlife while maintaining the safety of drilling operations and minimising potential for well control incidents.

Every chemical used in the Senegal exploration campaign was checked for its suitability for the drilling programme before submission for approval by the regulatory authority.


Objective 2017

  • We will perform an Energy Saving Opportunity audit

Strategic objectives

  • Maintain licence to operate

Principal risks

  • Health, safety, environmental and security incidents
  • Operational and project performance
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